Much of the news this week would be taken up by the slew of licensing announcements that came out of Otakon, so here's a super-condensed version of the highlights:
- VIZ: Inio Asano's Goodnight Pun Pun (heavy social issues from one of the more underappreciated manga talents currently working), and the Takeshi (Death Note, Hikaru no Go) Obata artbook Blanc et Noir.
- Vertical: Mysterious Girlfriend X, Kaori Ozaki's The Gods Lie, and Ryo Hanada's Devil's Line. Of the three, X is the least "Vertical" of the bunch (although that's only because my main opinion about the flavor of their productions was shaped massively by their original lineups of things like Osamu Tezuka's work and many experimental seinen titles).
- Kodansha: The big news was a long-longed-for Leiji Matsumoto (he who gave us Captain Harlock and Star Blazers) title: Queen Emeraldas, a future space epic featuring a female pirate (what's not to like)? Also, Yui Sakuma's Complex Age, a serious story about the implications of being an adult cosplayer , and Nao Emoto's Forget Me Not (romance meets mystery).
- FUNimation: The most intriuging news from the market leader (if not always the thought leader): all three films adapted from the works of the late SF novelist Project Itoh — Empire of Corpses, Harmony, Genocidal Organ — will be out under the FUNimation banner in 2016. Also: the original Speed Racer — in Japanese, no less! — will also be hitting Blu-ray, along with a BD reissue of Noein - to your other self. And special sets for Tokyo Ghoul and Black Lagoon will also be hitting shelves shortly.
- Discotek: The class-act nostalgia merchants dug deep into the archives and came up with some real goodies: seminal 1970s giant-robot series Gaiking, 1980s sex-and-violence OVA Wicked City (from Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels of the same name, now out in English), a totally remastered and retranslated Super Dimension Century Orguss, Magic Knight Rayearth on BD, Samurai Pizza Cats (standard def, but on BD for convenience), and — definitely not least — Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, on BD for the first time. Sorry, no Japanese audio on that one; the licensors turned them down, citing "materials issues". The inside dish on what happened with that title never gets any less intriguing.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the universe --
All aboard: Galaxy Express 999, a seminal future-fantasy series courtesy of the above-mentioned Matsumoto, is now available on Hulu. Harlock is also still on Crunchyroll for those with accounts there. Both shows are straight out of the 1970s in their visual aesthetics, but apart from that they're fast approaching a kind of timelessness that Matsumoto was pretty consciously striving for in his work. (Also now on Hulu, Itazura no Kiss, issued on video by Discotek but now available for your streaming pleasure.)
Still not consent: "It's 2015, and I can't believe we're still discussing whether cosplayers are 'asking for it' by wearing a costume." So says Lauren Orsini, and you better believe this isn't going to go away by itself.
Invisible titans: Word of how Attack on Titan's massive sales generated nary a peep from the larger comics or pop culture community has engendered much headscratching and -shaking about the way anime and manga get short shrift in discussions of cultural matters generally. There's a perception about anime and manga amongst pop-culture fans that seems to echo the way comics and animation were long dismissed as kid's stuff by mainstream culture.
Adaptable: Some interesting insights into why Asian live-action adaptations of comics tend to fare better, or at least have more diversity, than their Western cape-comics-to-big-screen counterparts. For starters, there's less of the above-mentioned compartmentalization and stigma for comics — although that doesn't mean the adaptations in question always turn out to be such great ideas. (Anyone remember the live-action Negima!? Yeah, neither do I, and for good reason.)